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Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us have a love-hate relationship with hot tools. Let's be real: Blow dryers and flat irons can add instant volume and movement to the hair—that is, when they are used the right way. If used too often or without an added layer of protection a la heat protectant, the results are less than ideal.
Heat protectant products are to hair what sunscreen is to the skin; they prevent damage and protect your strands' natural health. Going without it means running the risk of dullness, limpness, dryness, and monster-sized split ends. This is why we’re dedicated to using heat protectants that work entirely in our favor.
Read on for our picks of the best heat protectants to safeguard your hair from heat damage.
Best Overall: Living Proof Restore Instant Protection
This lightweight spray strikes the perfect balance between an instant shine spray and a protector against heat and UV damage. Simply mist onto damp or dry hair prior to heat styling, or you can use it as a shine boost by lightly misting onto your finished style.
Best Budget: Not Your Mother's All Eyes On Me 10-in-1 Hair Perfector
This product is more than just a heat protector; it's a hair perfector that offers 10 different benefits, with heat protection among them. In addition to protecting hair from the wrath of your hot tools, the formula adds body, strengthens, detangles, moisturizes, adds shine, controls frizz, repairs dry hair, mends split ends, and seals cuticles. We're hard-pressed to find benefits that this bad boy doesn’t have.
Best Drugstore: TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Spray
This tried-and-true drugstore staple guards against heat damage and friction so your styling session leaves you with hair that's shiny and soft instead of the opposite. We also love how the spray covers large areas. Three quick sprays get the job done, taking up barely any extra time in your overall styling routine. No excuses!
Best for Curly Hair: African Pride Anti-Humidity Heat Protectant Spray
This heat protector provides 400-degree heat protection and guards against heat damage when blow-drying, flat-ironing or straightening curls. Specially crafted with a keratin complex, this lightweight formula blocks humidity, seals in shine and keeps curls straight for up to two weeks or until your next wash day.
Read more reviews of the best hair products for curly hair.
Best for Color-Treated Hair: Pureology Colour Fanatic Multi-Tasking Hair Beautifier
Colored hair requires some extra attention to look and feel good—finding and investing in a good dry shampoo and leave-in conditioner, getting frequent trims, keeping it well hydrated, the list goes on. So letting a fresh color go to waste by using tons of heat without protection is the last thing we want to do.
That's where this formula comes in. It's made of fennel seed extract and a natural blend of camelina, coconut, and olive oil to nourish, strengthen, and offer the ultimate color protection. One look at the list of 21 priming, protecting and perfecting benefits will have you sold, sold, and sold.
Check out our guide to the best color-safe shampoos that won't strip your fresh dye job.
Best for Dry Hair: Leonor Greyl Lait Detangling Milk Styling Spray
A true multi-tasker, this leave-in spray conditions, tames, smooths like a charm and protects unruly locks. Disclaimer: The styling spray has a strong scent you'll either love or hate, but when you see the amazing results, the scent becomes secondary.
Take a look at our roundup of the best shampoos and conditioners for dry hair.
Best for Thick Hair: Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer
Just like you would use primer on your face before makeup application for better results, use this hair primer to prep your strands for your styling routine. It features a blend of six oils to protect, soften, tame, detangle, and de-frizz dry, coarse or brittle hair without leaving behind an icky residue. It also smells absolutely divine.
Speaking of products for thick hair, peep our guide to the best curling irons for thick hair that leave strands silky, not fried.
Best for Relaxed Hair: Moroccanoil Perfect Defense Heat Protectant
This Argan-oil infused, dry aerosol spray offers high protection, while giving a slight shine so it looks more like your hair is hydrated rather than filled with product. It’s especially great for relaxed hair because it’s dry and super weightless (although argan oil is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids), and you won’t spot any buildup after usage. As a fair warning, the signature smell is very intoxicating; we’re almost certain you’ll want to spray it all over when not using hot tools.